The wife is planning a 12 hr drive (cringe) with a 7 y/o, 4.5 y/o, and 2 y/o twins. Staying off property at 2BR Marriott resort on points. 3-4 park days. Feeling anxious - advice?

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That’s awesome. I took my 2 kids on a lot of road trips when they were younger as a single dad. It wasn’t always easy, but I do cherish the memories.

If you haven’t already, strongly consider a cargo carrier on top or hitched to the back for your luggage. It helps a lot for the kids not to feel too overcrowded. Tablets/headsets go a long way. Avoid sugary snacks. It’s tough on the parent, but consider driving when they are sleepy.

And remember when they get cranky (and they will), a sense of humor helps to set the mood for everyone. Enjoy the ride and time with your family. In this fishbowl, we are so aware about our work schedules/itineraries, it is not easy to unplug and decompress. Know yourself and check your reactions to what is happening in the moment. It won’t be just about getting to your destination.

You are going to have some great road trip memories to keep.

Enjoy!

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Install a DVD player in your car and/or buy a mini van. Otherwise, fly. But honestly, just enjoy the craziness. Some of the best experiences I have had with my kids looking back were the small moments on long drives between all the chaos.

Sincerely, dad of 3 under 4 years old who has driven 12 hours too many times to count.

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Don’t try and do the entire twelve hours all at once. If possible break it up into two days, that way you won’t want bash your own head in when you arrive.

Also, just kind of accept that your plans will go off the rails the second day, and just enjoy the time with your family.

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Fly if you can afford it. 12 hours of driving suck with young kids no matter how many stops.

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Plan ahead. We have a 3 year old and 1 year twins. We have done both flying with all 3 and a 10 hour road trip. Needless to say, that 10 hour road trip turned into 2 days (7 hours each way) with multiple rest stops and antsy kids screaming. Flying was roughly 2 hours with kids on iPads.

Not a big deal. Did so many of those with my 3 kids. I would probably leave the night before and drive 5/6 hours. Get a hotel and then only have a 6/7 hour drive to get there.

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We drive 16-18 hours from the Midwest to the southeast roughly once a year with 5 kids. We break it up with at least a half day stop somewhere along the way, usually to hike.

Have iPads/dvd player helps but we try to avoid having them do that the whole time. My kids all get crabby after an hour of watching movies on their own.

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Do it overnight. Start around 5 or 6 pm. Feed kids pizza for dinner in the car. Hopefully they’ll knock out by 9-10 pm and sleep through rest of the drive. It’s hard on you but plan to take a nap during the day. We have done it few times. Less stops and distance for some reason doesn’t feel as long vs doing it day time.

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That’s a good option. We’ve also headed out early morning so we make good distance while they are still sleeping.

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Sounds like my version of hell

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First off, good luck. Long trips with little kids can be a pain, but could make for some great memories. I’ve travelled a lot with my pre-teen and preK twins, and we’ve had very few bad experiences. Some tips (some repeats from what others have stated)
a) you’re not going to be able to lug 3 car seats if flying (even if you check them in).
b) break your drive into 2 days - find a hotel with a pool if your kids swim. Makes for a great break.
c) get a portable DVD player
d) plenty of road games available. Invest in some.
e) we played games where we identify construction vehicles, in alphabetical order. My boys are truck nuts so this worked well for us
f) stop at a grocery store and buy their favorite cereal, PBJ etc for the resort.
g) check if the resort has kid areas and use them when taking a break from the park
h) be prepared for spontaneous moments! The memories last a lifetime

Enjoy!

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My boys beat this up and it still works. RCA DRC79982 9-Inch Mobile DVD... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BUL4NLU?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

Can’t you rent a car at your destination ? They usually have car seats to rent as well

Sounds like a long road trip might be your only option given those factors. Good luck!

Have you considered flying and buying some big duffel bags and checking in the car seats?

I think you are making this much more complicated than you need to. I could see. Driving maybe you could do this one way. But 2 ways? Can you imagine getting there, going through the vacation, and then having to drive back. Wow.

At any rate. The Marriott sounds nice. Where are you going? You mention off property, what do you mean? Is it disney? I have always just checked car seats and had one parent wait in the airport with all the stuff while the other took the older kids to get the car. That way you’re not lugging all the stuff on the rental shuttle. You can confirm a minivan or large suv which would have 6 seats easily.

If you want to drive for some reason, maybe to eliminate the “we can’t get the car we want” risk in your mind (even though I don’t think this is a risk) consider just doing it one way. So you rent the minivan in your home city. Do it a day in advance so you know you have exactly what you want. Put your car seats in it. Drive it down and use it while you are on the trip. Then drop it at the airport and fly back.

But really if it was me, I would fly both ways and take my own car seats. Assuming it’s a popular destination, they will have plenty of vehicles with 6 seats and plenty of room for your family. Have fun!! And the advice here is spot on. It’s going to be crazy. All you can do is try to keep everyone as sane and happy as possible!

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